175: When Natural Doesn’t Mean Safe – Creating Non-Toxic Homes With Green Design Center

175: When Natural Doesn’t Mean Safe – Creating Non-Toxic Homes With Green Design Center

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When Natural Doesn’t Mean Safe- Creating Non Toxic Homes with Green Design Center

There are so many decisions to make when it comes to choosing materials for home building and renovation: color, design, durability, and of course cost. But do we also need to consider whether or not the materials we put in our homes are toxic?

Today’s guest Andrew Pace says yes! As a building materials expert he’s seen the problems in the industry and the effects of these supposedly “safe” materials firsthand.

In response, Andrew founded the Green Design Center, which is now an online hub of the green building industry that offers healthy and sustainable home building products and design services.

Green Design Center: The Healthy Home Resource

A lot of things out there claim to be eco-friendly and “green,” but are they? And what does that even mean, exactly? These are the types of questions Green Design Center makes it their mission to answer.

In 2008 Andrew also launched Degree of Green, a product rating system that’s being used by retailers and manufacturers to inform consumers and protect against false or misleading “greenwashing” claims. One of his projects currently in development is a Formaldehyde Release Attenuation Test which will allow professionals to pinpoint the exact surfaces in a home that are releasing dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

As a mom concerned about the air my children breathe in our home, the carpet they lay on, etc., I knew Andrew would be a great guest to have to the podcast. I’ve got my list of questions ready (especially since we may build a home at some point) and I’m so grateful he made the time to be here today!

In This Episode You’ll Learn

  • the three biggest toxic offenders in most homes
  • why “green” and “safe” aren’t always the same thing
  • how many chemicals are present in building materials (and the shockingly small percentage of them tested for safety)
  • why the EPA rating for low-VOC may not be the best standard to go by
  • how the Green Design Center works to protect the consumer
  • safer paint options for better indoor air quality
  • the best flooring options for building or remodeling
  • one caution on tile floors
  • how to deal with mold and best steps for safe remediation
  • formaldehyde in plywood (and how to protect your family)
  • advances in wood-free green home building that may reduce mold, termites, toxins, and other common house problems
  • some cautions to DIYers working with reclaimed wood
  • Andrew’s take on the controversy surrounding EMFs
  • and more!

Resources We Mention

More on This Topic

Do you have questions for Andrew? Let me know what they are in the comments… you never know when we might do a part 2! Also, please take two minutes to leave a review on iTunes. I value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well!

Many Thanks to Our Podcast Sponsors

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Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. Wow, when I saw Andy’s picture I just about fell out of my chair. I am so fortunate to know him and frequent his store for our paint and other home design items. This guy knows virtually everything there is to know and is super helpful. I think its great he’s offering 15 minute consults now. Highly recommended!

  2. How much more is it per sq foot to build a green house as opposed to what is typical?

  3. We’re signing a contract this week with a builder to start our home soon. I’m so glad I came across this article!
    We want to build non toxic all the way due to me having MCS. I would also like to know cost comparison on conventional building vs non toxic. Just a general idea. Can anyone tell me? Thank you so much Katie!!

  4. I’ve had this post open in a tab for ages waiting for a chance to listen. When I finally did- WOW! This guy really knows his stuff. I immediately hopped onto his podcast and listened to 3 episodes while I cleaned and such. My house was (basically) destroyed by Hurricane Michael, and most of the houses on the market here require either complete rebuilding or a lot of renovation to fix them back up. So it is a great time to jump in with healthier building materials, I love it!

    Also, I already hated carpet because I have 3 dogs, 4 cats, a 4 year old daughter, and live somewhere where we get a lot of rain. What a huge pain to clean, and stains like crazy. He just clinched it with all the carpet talk, will never have it again! We are living in my parents’ house right now, which also needs to be demo’ed, and I’m seriously considering pulling up the carpet in the meantime. The mold downstairs really doesn’t need help from formaldehyde offgassing upstairs!

  5. Thanks for a great post!

  6. Thank you so much for the podcast! I learned SO much about remodeling purposefully to create a healthier home. We struggle with autoimmune illnesses, chemical sensitivities, allergies and asthma and are about to remodel our home so this was perfect!! THANK YOU so sincerely.

    Many Blessings,

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